Sunday, November 30, 2014

Domaine Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER -- 2013s from Barrel, 2012s from Bottle

Domaine Jacques-Frédéric MUGNIER (Chambolle-Musigny)
2013s from Barrel, 2012s from Bottle

This is one of the iconic domaines of Chambolle-Musigny with wines of finesse and overall sensuality. Unfortunately, demand has skyrocketed, and one is likely to find the wines only at speculative prices.

Fred Mugnier said that he began harvesting on 5 October. The week before, the sugars had been sufficient to permit harvesting, but the grapes felt too firm, so he waited. It was his latest harvest since 1984. He began with the Clos de la Maréchale vineyard in Nuits-Saint-Georges. He said that he did not have much rot at the beginning of the harvest, but after harvesting the Clos de la Maréchale , he could see that rot was developing very fast in Chambolle, and so took in all the Chambolle  grapes in two days.  Plenty of triage was necessary, and it was all done by the harvesters in the vineyard.

The grapes were entirely destemmed, and chaptalization added less than 1º of alcohol to each cuvée. Malolactic fermentations were slow, the last ones finishing only in September 2014. Overall, yields were barely above 20 hl/ha (1991, for comparison, was 19.25 hl/ha). He expects to bottle the wines earlier than usual.
Below are the wines in the order presented at the estate this past October 27:

2013 Chambolle-Musigny
This wine shows floral red fruits in the nose. The mouth is smooth, long, and elegant. The wine is not powerful or especially deep, but it has good length, displays lots of charm, and the acidity is well-integrated. As always, roughly half of this wine is made from grapes grown in the premier cru Les Plantes vineyard.  (87-90)

2013 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru – Clos de la Maréchale
This sample is from the whole, assembled cuvée. The nose is earthy (in a positive sense) with some spice. The mouth is spicy with dark berries and shows some elegance, as well as firmness and well-integrated acidity. Like the Chambolle, this is not a powerful wine. The 2012 here (discussed below) seemed more typical of Nuits, but this vintage has reverted to showing the Chambolle origins of its producer. (89-92)

2013 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Les Fuées
This vineyard is located just south of Bonnes-Mares. Some spice in the nose is followed by dark fruit and some spice in the mouth with more body than the previous two wines. Yet again, well-integrated acidities. (90-94)

2013 Bonnes-Mares
In 2013, Mugnier has but four barrels (1200 bottles) of Bonnes-Mares. The nose shows animality characteristic of Bonnes-Mares, and also refinement. The mouth has acidity that is more prominent than in the previous wines, but it will meld with time. The fruit is dark and intense with good depth, substance, and concentration here – the effect of the small yields is quite apparent. (91-95)

2013 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Les Amoureuses
The nose is intensely floral – the roses one so often finds in Amoureuses. The mouth shows less fruit than I found in the Bonnes-Mares, but it is spicy and there is plenty of acidity showing. I expect this wine will need some time. (91-95)

2013 Musigny
This wine is the least evolved of Mugnier’s 2013s. It shows beautiful dark fruit and is rich, velvety, and quite concentrated, but here, too, the acidity is quite marked, although I have no doubt that it will integrate with time. (94-97)

2012 Chambolle-Musigny
The attractive nose has floral overtones. The mouth is round, generous, sensual, and harmonious with red fruits and some spice. I’d look to 2025-2040 for peak drinking. 92/A

2012 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Les Fuées
The Fuées has floral, earthy aromas that are quite attractive. The mouth is round, pure, deep, and complete – this may turn out to be the loveliest Fuées I’ve known from Mugnier. There are some tannins, so this is a wine for aging. I’d expect 2027-2047+ to be the prime drinking period. 93+/A

2012 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru – Clos de la Maréchale
This wine is dark with more power than is usual for Mugnier’s Clos de la Maréchale, but the wine also has sensuality, roundness, and breadth. I’d look to 2027-2050+ for prime drinking. 94/A

2012 Bonnes-Mares
The Bonnes-Mares has attractive earthy aromas and flavors that one often finds in Bonnes-Mares. The mouth is more elegant and less powerful than that of the 2013 Bonnes-Mares, but there is very good concentration here. I’d look to 2030-2060 for prime drinking. 95+/A

2012 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru – Les Amoureuses
Although there are rose hints in the nose, it is largely closed when I sample this wine. The mouth shows roses, spice, and red fruits in a medium-full body with sensuality. Still, this wine needs time to develop and could be substantially better than I perceived it on this occasion. 93+/A
2012 Musigny
The Musigny is round, sensual, deep, dark, voluptuous, and complete. From cask the year before, I thought this the greatest Musigny I’d ever had from Mugnier, and I still think that may well be the case. But like all top Musignys, it will take 20 years at least to reach full maturity. I’d look to 2032-2072 for best drinking. 98/A+

2013 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru – Clos de la Maréchale blanc
Mugnier’s white Nuits-Clos de la Maréchale is mineral with a touch of fatness, good acidity, and good promise here. 90/B+

2012 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru – Clos de la Maréchale blanc

The 2012 version of this wine has finesse and none of the fatness one often finds in this vintage. The wine is airy and light with good minerality. One out of seven of the barrels was new. 91(+)/A-